How does chemotherapy affect future fertility and pregnancy outcomes?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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Answer

Many women experience symptoms of ovarian dysfunction (ie, amenorrhea and hot flashes) during treatment with chemotherapy. The younger the woman at the time of treatment, the more likely the return of normal ovarian function and the more tolerant the ovaries are to higher doses of alkylating agents.

An increase in congenital anomalies in babies conceived following treatment with chemotherapy does not seem to occur. The necessity for chemotherapy during a preexisting pregnancy fortunately is rare, but antifolate drugs such as methotrexate probably should be avoided during the first trimester.


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